News - February 23, 2017

Workplace: Jack-of-all-trades in the lab

Roelof Kleis

Lab assistant Adrie Groeneveld’s ‘workplace’ is not so easy to pin down. All the labs on the eighth floor (and part of the seventh) in the Forum are candidates. He lugs his trolley full of goods to and fro for a pastime. The photo shows a storage space. Rows of pots containing plant and animal material preserved in alcohol fill the shelves. The atmosphere is that of an old lab.

Photo: Margriet van Vianen

Groeneveld is one of the five people in the Forum – ‘a lovely building to work in’ – who run the practicals. ‘We make sure all the material that’s needed is present, fill the test tubes with chemicals and get the apparatus ready. And afterwards we tidy it all up again.’ He’s been doing this for eight years now. Before that he spent 38 years as an analyst with the chair group which is now Cell Biology. He’ll be retiring at the end of May after ‘working for the Queen’ for 47 years. Then he’s planning to garden and play billiards and bowls.

In his own office – ‘I’m hardly ever there’ – there’s a seed tray of vanilla seedlings on a table. And a couple of broken pipetting syringes lie on his desk. ‘Do you know those things cost 200 euros? I’m going to take out the reusable parts.’ There’s an orange wuppie on his screen and the schedule of ‘his club’, Feyenoord, on the wall. The room looks out over the Forum courtyard. ‘I would have preferred an outside window.’ Then again, he’s not here much anyway.